Archived on 10 November 2020 – this content has expired.

COVID-19: NHS Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service during the COVID-19 Outbreak – template SOP launched (England) (April 2020)

22 Apr 2020

NHS England & NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) has commissioned the “Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service during the COVID-19 outbreak” (pandemic delivery service).

IMPORTANT: Please note that the information in this update is intended to support community pharmacy members in the delivery of the NHS commissioned ‘Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service During the COVID-19 Outbreak’ (pandemic delivery service) only. You are strongly advised to read the full details of the service specification for the pandemic delivery service. The information in this update is not intended to support a private/non-NHS delivery service.


This service is designed to support shielded patients in England to access their prescribed medicines and appliances while they are self-isolating at home during the pandemic period. The service went live from 9 April 2020 and will run during the pandemic until 1 July 2020 initially; it may be extended beyond this date following a review. NHSE&I published the service specifications and detailed guidance on Friday 10 April 2020.


There are two aspects to the pandemic delivery service:

  • Essential Service – requiring pharmacies to ensure the prescribed items are delivered to shielded (eligible) patients via their representative (this can be the patient’s carer, relative, friend, neighbour), or a volunteer such as an NHS Volunteer Responder for example, where appropriate.
  • Advanced Service – allowing pharmacies to choose / opt in to provide a ‘paid for’ delivery service if the pharmacy is not able to facilitate delivery of the prescribed items to shielded patients via the Essential Service route.


Pharmacies are required to have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in place to deliver this service. We are pleased to announce the launch of a template SOP covering both aspects of the pandemic delivery service and FAQs to support you in delivering the service. You can access the SOP: Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service during the COVID-19 outbreak (England) (April 2020)” here.


The template SOP sets out the process that should be followed by community pharmacies when requested by shielded patients to deliver their prescribed items to them under NHS commissioned pandemic delivery service.


Distance-selling pharmacies (DSPs) are excluded from the pandemic delivery service. The Essential Service and Advanced Service are not applicable to DSPs as they are already contractually required to deliver prescription items to patients. They are however able to deliver prescriptions on another pharmacy’s behalf where that pharmacy has exhausted all other options for delivering the prescription. Please see the template SOP with accompanying FAQs for further information about outsourcing deliveries under the NHS pandemic service.


Please note that the pharmacy has a duty of care to ensure patient safety. This means managing delivery of the service on a case-by-case individual patient basis as always, including exercising professional judgement and due diligence, and making relevant checks such as Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks as appropriate. Please see the NPA PI policy statement for your reference.


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